Soil Improvement: Methods to Enhance Ground Conditions [Complete List]

Ground Improvement is a method that is used to improve the bearing capacities of the soil and reduce the settlement of soft ground. Before starting any construction project, it is extremely important to ensure the quality of the soil. If the construction of the building is not done on solid ground, it may cause instability and require repairs later on. On the other hand, solid basements reduce the risk of damages. The ground can be improved by adapting certain ground improvement techniques, which we will discuss herein below:

What are Ground Improvement Techniques?

Ground Improvement Techniques are geotechnical construction methods that are used to improve poor ground conditions. Ground improvement can be used to increase the bearing capacity of the soil, control deformations, increase density, provide lateral stability, fill voids, increase resistance to liquefaction and accelerate consolidation. In poor soil conditions, there are several options available such as to bypass the soil and move to a new site, remove poor soil and replace it with better material or abandon the project. You may not need to do these things because there are various ground improvement methods available that can help you improve the condition of your ground.

Different Ground Improvement Methods

Vibro Concrete Columns- Vibro Concrete Columns method involves constructing concrete columns using a bottom feed vibroflot. This method is commonly used as an alternative to piling techniques that generate spoil. This method avoids piling into deep aquifers and support road and rail embankments when other prominent soil mixing techniques cannot.

Soil Nailing- Soil Nailing is a common technique used to reinforce soil to make it stable. This method is commonly used for slopes, retaining walls and excavations.  In this process, the soil is reinforced with reinforcing bars, which are also known as nails. These nails are installed into pre-drilled holes and then grouted. Soil nailing method is primarily used for temporary stabilization of soil slopes. This method is relatively fast and does not provide corrosion protection to the reinforcement steel.

Micropiles- Micro-piles are also known as pin piles, needle piles, and root piles. These piles are employed in a high compact for consistent ground or where rocky formations are found. The finished micro piles resist tension, compression and lateral loads. Micro piles are installed into the ground at different angles with an aim to improving the bearing capacity of the ground. Micro piles can be constructed for tension for a limited amount of bending. Mirco piles method is ideal for retrofit applications because they can be installed through a core drilled hole in an existing foundation or footing.

Fracture Grouting- Fracture grouting is a method that is deployed to control or reverse the settlement of structures. In this method, a material (such as cement slurry grout or hydrofracturing soil) is injected into the soil between the foundation. The most common uses of this method – stabilizing overlying structures during tunneling or re-leveling structures.

Permeation Grouting- Permeation Grouting method involves the injection of a material (such as grout or slurry) to fill the voids in order to strengthen the soil mass and reduce its permeability. Permeation Grouting is a technique which is generally used to strengthen and stiffen the ground and reduce the permeability. This method is also used to control groundwater during excavations. The method is also helpful for treating soils before tunnelling, settlement control and temporary strengthening. Permeation Grouting is commonly used for underpin foundations, create barriers to groundwater flow and provide excavation support.

Jet Grouting- Jet Grouting is a common soil stabilization method that involves the injection of a stabilizing fluid into the subsoil under high pressure. This process involves site preparation as well as injection equipment. The hardened bodies are grouted in numerous ways as per the requirements of the soil. Jet Grouting is a selective treatment for certain soil layers. This method is also used to mitigate liquefaction risks within soil.

Those were some of the common soil improvement methods. The purpose of all these methods is to modify the soil properties to achieve required performance. All these methods are highly beneficial in reducing settlement, increasing the bearing capacity of the soil and accelerate settlement.